When the time comes to pop the question, knowing what engagement ring to buy is a battlefield, so having a trusted expert you can turn to for help in finding that dream ring is a big advantage.
Now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Hitch, the character portrayed by Will Smith to help hopeless men woo the partner of their dreams. And what about Trent in the movie Swingers? He plays wingman to Mike and makes sure he never goes home alone.
There’s Cher in Clueless, one of the most legendary wingwomen of all time, providing endless, unquestioning support to Tai through her many, many fleeting crushes, and Courtney Rockcliffe in The Sweetest Thing, willing to go on a literal road trip to help her friend find love. And who could forget the original blueprint for wingwoman; Jane Austin’s Emma.
With the release of the new Top Gun film, we think it’s also a good time to pay homage to the late Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw; possibly the best wingman of all time. The high flying partner to Tom Cruise, Goose went above and beyond to make sure Cruise got the girl by singing backup on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”.
But guys and gals, it’s time to move over, because there’s a new wingman in town. And he’s carrying out the ultimate wingman move; helping people get engaged.
Michael Dransfield is the self-professed ‘Ringman Wingman’, but with good reason. He’s been helping people propose for more than four decades. And he isn’t simply trying to sell you a ring sitting in a cabinet. No, his company Burgundy Bespoke specialise in creating unique rings for unique experiences. After all, no two people are exactly the same. So why should engagement rings be?
“I’m not like a traditional retailer who carries stock in a shop. I make and design jewellery for people on an individual basis,” Michael says.
When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, Michael knows all too well the struggles of selecting the ‘right’ one. After all, it’s a seriously daunting proposition, especially if you’ve no idea where to start.
“If anyone is totally unsure of what style to buy, we give the option of creating a silver and cubic zirconia replica of a ring they think their partner might like.
“It takes the pressure off their shoulders, they have a ring to propose with, and they haven’t outlaid a lot of money on something their partner might not like. They can then make an appointment with me and we can start to work on the ring they really want.
“I’ve done this quite a few times and I think it’s a great idea because the stats suggest 30% of people who receive an engagement ring don’t actually like it. They accept it of course because of the good intentions, but it wouldn’t have been the one they chose.”
Michael recommends an initial consultation over a cup of coffee or even during a lunch break, so you can avoid having to conduct an undercover mission to a high street jewellers on the weekend. Burgundy Bespoke’s mobile appointment service is available to come to you at your home, office or any location convenient to you.
“The average age people get engaged in Australia is 28-32. At that age a lot of couples live together. If one says they’re going shopping on a Saturday, the other is definitely going to ask what for, and there’s a good chance they’ll want to tag along… Then what?
“By being flexible and personalised, I can meet clients at a time that suits them, in a place that’s convenient,” Michael says.
When it comes to such a big investment it’s only natural for people to ask how much it will cost or what they should spend. Michael has a simple answer: as much as you can afford.
“It’s no good if your partner has expectations of a 20k ring, and you can’t afford it, to then go beyond your means to buy it. That kind of situation only causes unnecessary stress and strain on the relationship.
“At the end of the day, spend what you can afford and buy something your partner will like within that price range. It’s my job to maximise the budget and create something truly bespoke with it.”
Michael also provides sample stones during meetings, to ensure his clients aren’t buying blind and are fully informed before making any big decisions. Due to not having a set supply chain, he’s also able to source stones that other jewellers might not, and only uses ethically sourced materials.
Further to the ring itself, Michael is more than happy to give advice on the proposal too.
“Clients often ask me how, when and where they should propose.
“I think you have to keep it within the realms of what you’re comfortable doing. Whether it’s where you had your first date, on holiday, at home… wherever. I’ve done it myself and even though you’ve known somebody for years, it can be really nerve-racking. I found asking my father-in-law quite daunting as well.
“At the end of the day it comes down to you, and listening to your gut feeling.”
With a passion for things made locally by local jewellers, Michael recommends you resist the temptation to buy cheap jewellery from overseas when it comes to something as significant as an engagement ring.
“I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy jewellery made in the likes of the Far East. I think it serves a purpose; however, you get what you pay for. With something like an engagement ring, it should last a lifetime and some of the pieces I’ve seen produced overseas wouldn’t last a year.
“People get caught up in the cheap prices, and most of the time people are still paying a lot more than they should on these pieces.”
Michael recommends going to an independent jeweller where you can ask plenty of questions.
“Sit down and talk to them. Get the 4 C’s explained to you. As an example, the most important thing when it comes to a diamond is the cut because that’s what reflects the light and gives it the scintillation. It’s about looking and understanding. Then you have to consider the colour, clarity and carat.
“I’d rather talk with someone, and not sell them something, but feel good knowing they can go away and make an informed decision,” Michael says.
After spending so many years handcrafting jewellery at a bench in the UK, Michael says the best part of his job is seeing the delight in people’s faces once they’ve got that ring on their finger.
“When someone opens that box and sees the ring, it’s a truly satisfying experience. I love receiving cards and testimonials from happy clients. Seeing photos and comments on social media is another big driver for doing what I do. I love making people happy.”
Burgundy Bespoke Jewellers is based in Brisbane and their mobile appointment service is available throughout Brisbane & surrounding areas up to Noosa, west to Toowoomba and as far south as Byron Bay. Virtual appointments are also available via Zoom.
So what do you think… “Is it time you put a ring on it?”